View Full Version : Vescey snipes at Montieth

02-03-2004, 12:26 PM

Sunday's Newark Star-Ledger branded my report (Al Harrington asking to be traded at least twice) nonsense, and accused Isiah Thomas of planting the small forward's acute Knicks interest in this space. As I learned from working with Charles Barkley, you can't win an argument with the ignorant. The author would better serve his readers, I submit, if he actually had a source other than the Indy beat writer who's made a career of getting beat on Pacer stories by The Post.

Oh, yeah, Harrington was quoted saying he's happy as a Skylark, er, Pacer being part of a winning team in Indy. What a shock he failed to validate his dissatisfaction with being the sixth man! Meanwhile, in case the Ledger would like to hear the tape, agent Andy Miller admitted to me the discussions with management, indeed, took place, which, of course, I'd already confirmed long before his frantic phone call. . . .

02-03-2004, 12:29 PM
This is in UncleBuck's articles he posted earlier.

02-03-2004, 12:55 PM
This is in UncleBuck's articles he posted earlier.

Yeah I know. That's where I saw it and am now putting a spotlight on it.

02-03-2004, 01:07 PM
Didn't Al himself say Vecsey was full of it?

02-03-2004, 01:12 PM
Yes he did

"I'm looking forward to (the trip to New York) with people asking me and so many sources saying I want to play for New York, but I'll silence all those rumors tomorrow."
- Al Harrington

02-03-2004, 01:15 PM
Did we ever post Montieth's comments which pre-dated Vecsey's stab? This could get real entertaining...


Answers Posted Jan. 27, 2003

Question: Thanks for the great column, and all of the great feedback you give Pacer fans. I was perplexed by Peter Vecsey's comments that Al Harrington has demanded a trade twice this season, and will fire his agent if it doesn't happen. He called Al the next Tracy McGrady, and said that he wants to be the star of the Knicks with his ties to NY.

Is this just wishful thinking for a NY columnist? He seemingly has established that he is either the Pacers' second or third best player, so I wonder if Indiana is willing to adjust the starting line-up accordingly. The logical move would seem to put him in the small forward position and move Ron Artest the shooting guard position.

Or is this all overblown, and we can keep the rotation as it is? I would love to see Indiana keep Al (my favorite player), as he has a cap friendly number and seems to be a rising superstar. Trading him would only seem to hurt us. He has to want a championship! Your special insight is appreciated. (Dean from San Diego, Calif.)

Answer: I'm glad you asked, because it gives me an opportunity to reiterate a point about Vecsey and other rumor-mongers.

Perhaps you saw the story that ran in Monday's Star, in which Harrington responded to this particular rumor. He called it "nonsense" and claimed he has never asked Donnie Walsh for a trade. Although he knows Vecsey, he said he never told him anything of this nature and is looking forward to asking him where the report originated.

I believe Harrington is satisfied with being the third-highest scorer on the team and ranking third in minutes played. Starting should be irrelevant to him at this point. He finishes most games, and that counts much more.

What surprises me is that people still pay attention to anything Vecsey says or writes. He's wrong almost every time. He just got a TV gig on Fox, though, so I guess he feels he has to come up with a few wild rumors to get attention. After all, he can't very well go on and say, "I don't know of anything going on at the moment."

He'd be better off commenting on what's happening than guessing what might happen. He's written or spoken dozens of trade rumors involving the Pacers in the eight seasons I've been on the beat and I don't think he's been right yet. How many times must a boy cry wolf before people stop listening?

Harrington does indeed have star potential. His play has been limited somewhat this season by the bone bruise on his right knee, but he's played very well at times. If he becomes a smarter defender and develops more poise he can be outstanding. Remember, he has yet to be a factor in the playoffs. He's hit some crucial late-game shots recently and that's a breakthrough for him.

Since we're on the subject of Harringtons, have you considered this oddity? A Harrington never played in the NBA until Othella joined in 1996. Al came along two years later and Junior and Adam have since played in the league. Where are they all coming from all of a sudden?

Al turns 24 in February, so it's not as if he's anywhere near his peak.

02-03-2004, 01:42 PM
A few things:

It's not above any writer (Vescey) to fabricate 3rd-party stories to stir the pot a little, plant a seed and have something to write about for a few days to several weeks.

It's not above any agent (Miller) to take the liberty to stretch the truth a little in talking with management (Pacers) in order to achieve something (starting) that he knows his client (Harrington) wants.

It's a perfectly natural reaction by a player (Harrington) to deny something if the way it has been played out in the press might make him look bad to local fans.

It's a natural for a writer (Vescey) to be a little defensive when another writer (Montieth) has basically called him a liar in print.

So what is the truth?

We all know that Al wants to start.

But actually mentioning the word "trade" to management may or may not be another story. A trade to the Knicks does get him closer to home. He has a one-year old contract that runs for several years, so it's not like it will gain him anything financial (outside of possible endorsement money).

And, he would be going to a team whose salary structure offers them absolutely no chance of doing anything special for the next 3-4 years, anyway.

Could it be that maybe Al thought this might be something he wanted, and without a definite go-ahead, his agent thought he might put out a feeler with management? Or maybe it was pursued and Al has now had second thoughts?